Jan 06, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA -- It’s January, time for New Year’s resolutions! Whether or not we follow through on our personal goals, it’s reassuring to know that every year, the rice industry fulfills its resolution with flying colors: work hard, produce high quality, nutritious rice, and feed the world.
I spent lots of time with our farmers and industry leaders at the Outlook Conference in Little Rock last month, and though they were happy to see 2019 in the rearview mirror, for the most part they are optimistic—and that makes me hopeful. Outlook gave us a taste of what’s to come in the next year, and the coming decade, with new technologies and innovative practices that could increase yields and drive down costs.
We’re hoping for positive developments on trade deals that both open new international opportunities and bolster our existing markets. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is an important milestone that will allow us to maintain and strengthen relationships with our trade partners to the north and south. We also await the signing of “phase one” of the U.S.-China trade deal to give us greater access to this potentially lucrative market for U.S. rice. Finally, the UK is expected to complete its exit from the EU on January 31 which would signal the beginning of formal negotiations with the U.S. on future trade.
Our domestic and international promotions programs are ensuring people eat more rice both at home and abroad, and the new market opportunities we secured in 2019 are going to serve us well in the coming year.
Of course, it’s hard to talk about what 2020 has in store for us without acknowledging that this is going to be an intense election year. No matter your political stripe, I know we in the rice community can make it through November with respect for each other and differing views, keep the discourse civil, and agree to disagree when necessary. Beyond that, I encourage you to vote because agriculture is front and center in this election cycle and you deserve to have your voice heard.
I hope you all got some rest and quality time with friends and family over the holidays, and that you are feeling focused and refreshed. There’s a lot of work to be done, as always, and a lot of big decisions ahead for the rice industry that we will tackle together to get these roaring 20s off to a good start.
Happy New Year from all of us at USA Rice!